Tiny marsupial makes big impact in Queensland

By AAP with AG staff 29 May 2012
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The Endangered Julia Creek dunnart has put development in Longreach to a halt.

A TINY MOUSE-LIKE marsupial is standing in the way of a $25 million investment in central-west Queensland.

The Stockman’s Hall of Fame has had to halt earthworks for a multi-purpose equestrian centre at the Longreach tourist attraction because the site might be the habitat of the nationally Endangered Julia Creek dunnart  (<em>Sminthopsis douglasi</em>).

Hall of Fame CEO Ben Maguire says the Longreach Regional Council can’t confirm if the tiny animal does in fact call the proposed site home.

Little dunnart creating big issues

However, in the ensuing confusion about what environmental impact studies may be needed, the project has had to be postponed and may be delayed up to two years, he says.

The expansion would inject millions of dollars into the west Queensland economy, Ben said. But far from blaming the endangered critters, he is frustrated at the red tape surrounding the issue, he said.

“We want to respect the environment and do the right thing, but I’m more frustrated by the process it takes to get through to finding out what we’ve actually got to do.”

The Julia Creek dunnart is a small nocturnal marsupial (about 40-70g) that feeds on small insects and is mostly found in a small part of northwest Queensland.

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